Egypt: Coptic Priest Fatally Stabbed

A Coptic Orthodox priest was fatally stabbed on 7 April in Alexandria, Egypt.

Father Arsanious Wadid was reportedly on a youth outing on the seaside promenade in Alexandria when he was approached by his attacker, a 60-year-old Muslim man, who initially asked him for assistance before stabbing him in the neck. Father Wadid, who served at a local parish, died while being treated for his injuries.

Local police have arrested the assailant, who is currently being interrogated.

The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Alexandria have declared Father Wadid a martyr, while the head of Al-Azhar – the country’s most influential institution of Sunni Islam – condemned the attack in a statement posted on Facebook.

Archbishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, also condemned the killing in a tweet, writing: “In clerical attire in a public space with no one else attacked, it can be safely assumed that [Father Arsanious Wadid] was targeted as a priest. With a suspect in custody, we wait to see whether investigations rule this to be an ‘individual event’, or part of a known wider phenomenon.”

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “We extend our deepest condolences to Father Arsanious Wadid’s friends, family, and parishioners, and note with appreciation the condemnation of his murder by the Sheikh of Al Azhar. While also welcoming the perpetrator’s arrest, we call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure a thorough investigation of this case, and that anyone complicit in this murder is held to account and receives a sentence appropriate to this appalling crime. Ensuring accountability will assist in combatting residual impunity surrounding religiously motivated crimes.  More must be done to address the levels of societal hostility, and to promote mutual respect and equal citizenship.”

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